If you have read many postings in this blog, you know that I think the very best blog out there is the New York Times‘ “The New Old Age.” Varied and intelligent, it is always worth reading.
Yesterday’s article, however, gets only a B+. It talks about the findings of a study done by Hebrew Senior Life Institute for Aging Research. The blog points out that, “dementia patients are often subjected to aggressive treatments and transfers even though studies show little benefit…”
We provide non-medical home care, at Support For Home, so we will leave the in-depth studies and medical statistics to others, but, based on our experience, we certainly do agree. For many dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, the trauma involved in the treatments outweighs any real benefit.
Dr. Susan Mitchell, one of the researchers, told “The New Old Age,”
Being in an emergency room where people are taking blood and putting in IVs in this crazy, noisy setting — it’s been described as an ‘assault,’ and I concur[.]
The only reason the article gets a B+, instead of the normal A+ for “The New Old Age” postings is that the study it relates deals only with dementia patients in “nursing homes,” ignoring the large number of folks still living at home, with either family or professional caregivers (or, quite often, both working as a team).
We would love to have future studies expanded to that population. It is a very tough, sensitive topic, but one about which families with whom dementia patients live — as well as many of those patients’ primary care physicians — must learn much more.